I think it is absolutely amazing how God has hard wired each of us in such diverse yet miraculous ways. As I grow older and gain more experience in working with people it is becoming increasingly apparent that even when we go awry of God’s design for our lives, he can turn them around in a split-second and what’s more incredible, he can use our mistakes to set the stage for our future success.
We serve an incredible God – one that can transform obstacles into opportunities.
Sometimes it seems the only thing required of us is repentance and then having enough alertness to see where God may be starting to take us. I know in my own life this has been the case. On more than one occasion God has taken a seeming insurmountable obstacle and use it to send me off in a direction I would have never predicted. All that I needed to make the jump in awareness of where God was leading was a degree of openness and a willingness to change my perspective.
In the spring of 1996 I was working in Miami, Florida as the Program Services Director of a major project designed to deal with homelessness in Dade County. The City of Miami had a major problem with homelessness, much of it due to the climate. Homeless people from across the country tended to eventually migrate to South Florida because of the mild winters. Can’t say that I blame them – it is easier to be on the street in Miami in January than it is in say, Chicago.
This was a fine job but it was both taxing and stressful. In April I began to have major blood pressure issues and, to make a long story short, had a heart attack in May, followed by a quadruple bypass surgery. All of this, mind you, at age 47.
Needless to say, this got my attention.
I wasn’t allowed to return to work for almost three months and, when I did, I only last six weeks. Due to the stress of the job more than anything else, I began to have complications with one of the bypass grafts. My doctors conferred and basically told me I had two choices: find another line of work or die. I chose the former.
During the next year I was off work and spending much of my time reading, praying, and trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life. The pastor of my church called me one day and informed me he wanted to start an outreach program to the local Chinese immigrant community and, aware that I had a long standing interest in China, asked if I would take charge of the project. I agreed and, as they say, the rest is history.
During my work with the local Chinese community, I became increasingly aware of the need for Christian workers in China. This eventually led to the formation of LifeBrook International, a five-plus year stay in China, and the most rewarding work I have ever done. If I had never had the heart problems, none of this would have likely occurred. God took something that could have been a major meltdown in my professional life and turned it into gold. Of course, I had to be sensitive to where he was leading and I also had to be willing to step out of my comfort zone. I guess that’s where obedience plays a big role. As I look back on all of this, I have no regrets. As I said, my work in China was rewarding beyond measure.
Since my return, my work with LifeBrook and the ChinaLight Program has also been a continuation of that blessing. God can indeed work wonders in our lives. He can transform tragedies into blessings and obstacles into opportunities.
We do indeed serve an incredible God.
(c) L.D. Turner 2008/All Rights Reserved